Twelve boxes for my movers, a couch, a bed, a rug, a chair, and 6 boxes of books totalling 180 lbs for the post office later, I am officially back in Berkeley for May and June. As this blog seems to spread news of my life more efficiently than I can in person, and as many inquiring minds seem to want to know: I am back in Berkeley for May and June, traveling in July, and moving to Minnesota (!) in August for grad school. So there’s the big reveal.
And what better way to kick off a few months in Berkeley than with food politics, art, and a return to buying packages of bacon?
For a little less than a year, a good friend of Food Junta’s has been organizing Eat-Ins. As described on the web site, “An Eat-In is a group of people gathering in public in order to share a home-cooked meal.” Basically, it’s a potluck, but you don’t know everyone, which gives it an added political component. Eat-ins challenge the status quo of what we think of as “eating in” and “eating out.” And, if the one I attended Friday night was any example, they are really really awesome.
Eating went from 7-9, and in that 2 hours the contents of the table changed so many times it was like an entirely new potluck every time I looked. My bacon and onion tart (recipe to follow) was snapped up pretty quickly, I am proud to say. A ham arrived around 8 — along with a haiku for its label — providing the one constant on the table (a roasted pork tenderloin was also holding it down), and forcing people to engage in some serious carving teamwork. Lots of pasta salads, green salads, and more couscous than you could shake a rainstick at. A bag of Lay’s potato chips, some Tostitos salsa, and a couple of Snickers bars rounded out the high-low balance, which I actually found refreshingly honest. And while I was too busy pursuing the pork tenderloin (not a single peep about swine flu among the eaters, I’m relieved to point out) to engage with the junk food, I noticed that the Lay’s chip bag emptied pretty quickly.
Between the approximately 300 people in attendance (and I am always terrible at estimating crowd-size, so you can assume that’s probably more like 400, at least), there was enough food and booze to feed twice as many. And then, since the event was co-hosted with Slideluck Potshow (which organizes potlucks followed by slideshows, basically), there was a slideshow of photos after. Some of them explicitly had to do with the theme of the night — “NOURISHMENT” — and some didn’t. And while they encouraged us to all make a labels for our food explaining why it was “nourishing,” nobody really did. After all, not to get all Berkeley on you, but the nourishment part — physical, intellectual, emotional (there’s the Berkeley) — was pretty self-explanatory, I’d say.
Bacon and Onion Tart
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Serves 6, or 20 if cut up in tiny potluck portions for when there is so much good food you don’t know what to do with yourself
– 8 bacon slices, chopped
– 5 cups sliced onions (about 3 large)
– 1 large egg
– 1/2 cup sour cream
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
– Pinch of ground nutmeg
– 1 13.8-ounce tube refrigerated pizza dough
– 3/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Sauté bacon in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until slightly crisp. Drain all but 1 tablespoon bacon drippings from skillet. Add onions to bacon and sauté over medium heat until onions are very tender but not brown, about 20 minutes. Cool.
3. Roll pizza dough out on lightly floured surface to 13×10-inch rectangle (if you are having trouble with this and the dough is springing back after you roll it, as mine did repeatedly, you just need to let it rest for a few minutes and get back at it; eventually, with enough hand-stretching and rolling and resting it should get to this size). Transfer to baking sheet. Spread onion mixture over dough, leaving 1/2-inch plain border around edges. Sprinkle with caraway seeds.
4. Bake tart until onion custard is set and crust is golden brown around edges and brown on bottom, about 25 minutes.